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Ohio State University logo Recognizing Excellence

Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award

The Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Awards recognize individuals or groups who have demonstrated a significant commitment to enhancing diversity at Ohio State and to exceeding expectations in implementing the Diversity Action Plan. The program, now in its 21st year, rewards efforts to enhance diversity on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran or military service status, gender identity, economic status, political belief, marital status or social background. Recipients were honored with a plaque and a $1,200 honorarium at a spring luncheon during the Office of Minority Affairs’ ninth annual National Conference on Diversity, Race and Learning. The University Senate Committee on Diversity sponsors the awards program in cooperation with the Office of Human Resources.

Recognizing Excellence at Ohio State

Current University Awards winners

Previous University Awards winners

Click on photo or scroll down the page to read winner's bio.

Bettina Bair
Senior Lecturer
Computer Science and Engineering College of Engineering

A role model, mentor and coach for women in computing at Ohio State, Bettina Bair works tirelessly to help attract and retain more women in computing majors. Working side-by-side with students while rounding up corporate support, she founded and supervises the group TWICE, The Women in Computer Engineering. She also founded a student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery Women's Committee, the primary professional organization for computing geared to the needs of women in the field. Bair is also an active member of the national ACM-W working committee in charge of developing recruiting materials to encourage middle- and high-school girls to consider careers in computing. Taking a passionate leadership role, Bair organized the first Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing, a well-attended statewide conference that was reported in the Chronicle for Higher Education as well as in the computing media. Approximately 100 young women from 13 colleges and universities around Ohio and Michigan attended the two-day conference. Bair is currently involved with planning a regional version to involve several Midwest states. She has guest-written articles for the Columbus Dispatch highlighting the gender imbalance in computing and some of the local efforts to help correct the problem; participated in Women in Engineering workshops; taken young women to the National Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference; and presented papers and posters at international conferences while encouraging undergraduate women to do the same. She informs her students through organization and classroom listservs about interesting opportunities and encourages them to apply for grants, scholarships, jobs, conferences and school organizations. One nominator wrote, "Bair has confronted the gender imbalance with abandon at the local, state and national levels."

Jean E. Girves
Director, Ohio Science and Engineering Alliance
Graduate School

Jean Girves has spent her entire professional life creating, implementing and sustaining programs to enhance diversity. One nominator wrote, “Jean is a builder whose efforts lead to enduring structures that continue to serve the goals of diversity in higher education.” She successfully secured funding from federal agencies, corporations and non-profit organizations to make possible the Summer Research Opportunities Program. The program, which brings minority college students to Ohio State laboratories and libraries for hands-on experience with research, has been institutionalized at 12 major Midwestern universities. Upon her retirement in 2000 from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation — where she created the CIC Senior Diversity Officers group, the Women in Science and Engineering initiative and the Women’s Advocacy Group — Girves returned to Ohio State and established a multi-institution consortium to improve diversity in science and engineering statewide. The consortium received a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to participate in the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation. Girves now directs the consortium, the Ohio Science and Engineering Alliance, whose goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to create a more diverse pool of talented researchers in tomorrow’s workplace. One nominator said, “Through her individual efforts and the numerous diversity initiatives that she has led or supported, Jean has consistently gone well above and beyond her job responsibilities to enhance the diversity of higher education.”

Nongnuch Inpanbutr
Associate Professor
Department of Veterinary Biosciences
College of Veterinary Medicine

The first minority to be elected president of the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists, Nongnuch Inpanbutr has a passion for education that has made her an exceptional teacher and role model for students. Inpanbutr has served on 17 committees and five affirmative action committees, including chair of the Departmental Strategic Planning Committee on Education Mission, chair of the University Multicultural Center Advisory Council, chair of the College Anatomy Award Committee and president of the OSU chapter of Phi Zeta. She is a vibrant example for both ethnic minorities and female students as vice president of the Association of Thai Professionals in America and Canada, technical team leader in life science and veterinary education and chair of the by-laws committee. In addition, she has served as an adviser for OSU’s Thai Student Association for the past 14 years. By enhancing the recruitment, retention and professional placement of students, Inpanbutr has helped the university’s Foreign Language Center conduct proficiency tests for Thai language. She has served on a panel discussion in a university mentoring program and on the Asian Pacific American Caucus. Her efforts have had a major impact on education and research reform in Thailand, including the establishment of the first seven National Centers of Excellence, several improvements in the veterinary educational system and the steady growth of the dairy cow industry. Outside the university, her public service includes promoting the participation of Thai Ohio State students in the Asian Festival, introducing Thai culture and artists to Columbus in collaboration with the Community Arts Education Division of the Greater Columbus Arts Council and working with the Wexner Center for the Arts to promote artists from around the world.

Jeff Pettey
Medical Student
College of Medicine

Intelligent, ethical and inquisitive, third-year medical student Jeff Pettey established and directed M.D. Camp in the summer of 2004, appealing to a diverse group of high school students who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of medicine. The two-week camp, which introduces disadvantaged and minority students to the rigors of medical school, has evolved into a three-week program and includes new features such as clinical shadowing. Pettey planned the camp’s curriculum, brought together faculty and medical students to teach it and helped recruit the camp’s participants to encourage minority students to pursue careers in medical fields. Because of Pettey’s flexible design, medical students in 2006 will be able to continue the proud tradition of counseling and mentoring that began with his hard work and enterprising spirit. In addition, Pettey received the Lifeline of Ohio Fellowship for his work to raise awareness about organ and tissue donations; helped establish a Math and Science Club for Columbus-area minority students interested in the sciences; has served as a volunteer missionary in Russia; established and taught English classes for Russian-speaking immigrant communities in Salt Lake City; and volunteered as a glaucoma and visual acuity screener for Prevent Blindness Utah.

Office of University Housing
Office of Student Affairs

Office of University Housing

How do the 350 resident advisers, resident managers, hall directors and assistant hall directors in the Office of University Housing create diversity awareness and inclusion for all? By maintaining a culture of diverse thought. In their quest to “promote understanding and mutual respect of personal and cultural differences and similarities by building supportive and inclusive communities and celebrating uniqueness,” the OUH staff plan and implement hundreds of diversity-themed educational activities for students living in residence halls each year. These include gay, lesbian and bisexual movie nights; Spike Lee movie nights and discussions; Latino Bingo; MUNDO (Multicultural Understanding through Non-traditional Discovery Opportunities); and international cuisine fiestas. University Housing also is home to three black student associations and has founded the Big Ten Black Student Leadership Conference, which will take place for the first time in January. OUH’s drive to increase sensitivity and address thoughtlessness has led to two Diversity Enhancement Awards from the Great Lakes Association of Colleges and University Housing Officers in the past five years. Pre-service training and a “diversity conference” have resulted in more than 300 well-trained student staff members who — as a group — are more ethnically diverse than the student body. Additionally, more than 60 percent of students in university housing benefit from approximately 40 living learning communities, such as Allies for Diversity, MUNDO, Mount Leadership Society, International House, Spanish Learning Community and the Afrikan American Learning Community.

2006 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award


Previous winners

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